Autumn Davis felt her senior season slipping away months ago. It was one week into the Taft of Woodland Hills girls’ basketball season, and her ambitions of making a run at the City Section championship were tempered as the Toreadors struggled to an 0-2 start. Davis looked every bit the established veteran for the Toreadors (23-2), scoring a team-high 13 points. Nayshon Williams added 11 points, as top-seeded Taft became the first area girls program to win the City title since Kennedy of Granada Hills in 1987. Mykiea Russell scored a team-high 13 points for the No.6 seed Generals (22-7), whose last City championship came in 1999. “It’s great to see all the hard work and dedication finally pay off,” Davis said. “We struggled early, but we stuck it out. I’m very proud with how we never gave up.” Taft won despite having an extreme size disadvantage. The tallest player on the Toreadors’ roster is 5-foot-10 reserve forward Joy Hubbard, while Washington’s roster lists nine players of at least that height. The Generals took a 2-0 lead in the opening minute on a 6-foot runner by Kejuanna Gardner, but Taft responded with a 10-0 run spanning the next two minutes. Davis scored eight points in the first quarter, including two 3-pointers, as Taft took a 17-3 lead at the end of the period. The veteran shooting guard’s response was calm, yet pointed. She challenged freshman point guard Rmanii Haynes to take over the offense. She challenged her teammates to increase the intensity. The magical season continued Saturday, as Taft defeated Washington of Los Angeles 39-36 at the Sports Arena to clinch its first City title in program history, and extend its area-best winning streak to 23games. Washington cut the deficit to 17-10 with 6:26 left in the second quarter on an offensive rebound and layup by Russell. Taft responded with another run, and Williams layup with 10 seconds remaining in the second quarter put the Toreadors comfortably ahead, 24-11, at halftime. Washington rallied in the second half, and Russell drove the length of the court for a layup to make it a one-possession game with five seconds remaining. Davis was fouled, and she missed the front end of a one-and-one with two seconds remaining. Washington’s 60-foot desperation heave came up short as the final horn sounded. “Thank God that clock ran out,” Taft coach Mark Drucker said. “Washington made a great run to end the game, but these girls battled through it.” Taft’s previous best postseason run came in 1982, when the Toreadors lost in the City semifinals. This year’s title run was likely made easier last month, when two time-defending City champion Narbonne of Harbor City was banned from the postseason for using ineligible players in past seasons. Narbonne was a significant favorite to repeat as champion this season. Taft will not apologize for the situation, however, especially considering how the school’s highly regarded boys’ basketball team was banned from the City playoffs last month, when the City Section found two of its players ineligible. “I’m speechless right now,” Drucker said. “It’s a great achievement for the school. “These girls have worked so hard for this. To see it finally happen is amazing.” [email protected] (818)713-3607 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!